LeMond Crayton-Hart is the “all-in-one” owner, operator, stylist, tailor, and designer behind The House of LeMond brand (@thehouseoflemond), which he currently runs from Novel NoDa.
A native of Charlotte, LeMond’s relationship with NoDa began as a youngster, when family regularly sent him to Herrin Brothers to pick up ice or coal. As the blue-collar neighborhood morphed into the arts district, he began to frequent the area for fun – enthusiastic for concerts at Chop Shop, Wine Up, and open mic nights.
An artist from an early age, LeMond “grew up fairly impoverished” off of Beatties Ford Road, as well as Oaklawn Avenue and in Plaza Midwood. He was raised by his elderly grandmother after the tragic murder of his mother when LeMond was only 12 years old. As a child, he dreamed of having nice clothes like the other kids: “I remember thinking, I’m going to have a closet full of clothes when I get big.” Later in life, he’d be brought to tears, realizing how far he’d come. “I feel grateful, honored, and privileged to have the opportunity to do what I’ve always dreamed,” he said.
It wasn’t an easy road. LeMond credits his band teacher, Larry Lane, as an early influence. “He dressed really well and introduced me to GQ. He got me outside of the box I was confined in and helped me see beyond my circumstances,” he said. Lane helped LeMond get to and from school and was a catalyst in helping him “process and deal.” They still talk.
The next ingredient in LeMond’s “no boxes” artistic journey is world travel. His first exposure to international styles came during his time in the military.
Upon returning to Charlotte, LeMond played it safe, working at Wachovia and later Wells Fargo as a benefits administrator. At the height of the recession, the newly consolidated bank let LeMond go as part of “right-sizing.” He saw it as an opportunity to take a leap of faith. With his last financial aid check and $200, he started his first vintage clothing boutique at arts-incubator Area 15.
From Area 15, the House of LeMond brand grew and eventually took off. The clothier gained international attention when the UK’s Prince Harry publicly took note of LeMond’s crown-based jewelry designs, meant to celebrate the Queen City, not the British Royal Family. He presented Cam Newton’s line at Charlotte Fashion Week and has been tapped to style folks for the Grammys. Various publications named him the city’s “Best Men’s Boutique,” “Best Tailor,” and “Fashion Icon.” All this just in the past six years.
For LeMond, the awards aren’t nearly as important as the relationship he has with his clients. “When you are dealing with individuals’ bodies and garments and their brands, so their image — how they are seen in another person’s eyes — it might open doors for them or close them. The way that I can give my heart back to the world is through my gift — design, styling, creating and repurposing garments to let people put their best foot forward,” he said.
Despite his successes, LeMond remains down to earth and never forgets his humble roots.
“We’re no better than each other,” he said. The clothier works with numerous local charities and assists a few unhoused people in the community with clothes. He also recently helped a couple of young kids with tailored suits for their grandfather’s funeral, knowing full well the pain that comes from losing family at a young age. In his work with other artists, he always tries to foster mutually beneficial relationships, often repeating the mantra: “Iron sharpens iron. Collaboration over competition.”